SPUR a.s. of Zlín has recently seen growing demand for the SPURTEX® nano respirators. The company supplies customers in the Czech and Slovak Republics, but also in Germany and the United Kingdom. The current stock holds about 1 million FFP2 respirators. At the beginning of January, the company commissioned the seventh production line making nano protective equipment.
“Although one can expect that the demand by individuals as well as institutions will increase due to the upcoming government measures stipulating the obligation to wear respirators and medical face masks in stores and public transport, there is no need for people to buy large quantities,” says Tomáš Dudák, CEO of SPUR a.s. And despite the increase in the production capacity, he admits that the situation could have been different.
“We installed yet another respirator production line at the end of the last year, but it was delivered two months later than originally expected. This was caused by the supplier and it affected our production plan,” said Tomáš Dudák and he added that they also increased the nanofiber material production capacity. „Výroba nanomateriálu SPURTEX® “The SPURTEX® nano material is now produced by two new lines of our own design. This makes us one of only two Czech companies producing protective equipment end-to-end,”Dudák commented.
SPUR is currently capable of producing 4 million FFP2 respirators per month. The company could make even more, if it were not for the lack of human resources – some of the employees had to be laid off earlier due to cancellation of orders. SPUR started producing nano face masks already in March 2020 in response to the critical shortage of protective equipment, aiming to help the Czech Republic become self-sufficient in this area. “That is also why we invested in boosting our production capacities, adjusted our production plan, and hired new personnel. And yet, at the end of the year, we had to seek customers on foreign markets,” Tomáš Dudák explains and adds why: “Our respirators comply with the most stringent quality and certification requirements, but we cannot compete with cheap Asian production on price. The rules and evaluation criteria applying to government contracts are still set so that price is preferred over quality.”
SPUR’s total investments in the production of their nanofiber range have exceeded 70 million Czech crowns. “Already last year, we decided to enter the COVID-10 Technology subsidy program, which we believe is well prepared and effective. At this time, we are waiting to receive a subsidy of 10 million crowns,” Tomáš Dudák said.
At the end of 2020, SPUR extended their range with colour printed nano face masks – NANOS® for adults, NANOSÍK® for children, and also the special SPURTEX® Unisanol sanitiser that extends the lifespan of a respirator up to five times. Currently in the process of certification is another upcoming product – a top class FFP3 nano respirator with market launch planned for February 2021.
Since its establishment in 1992, SPUR has been involved in production of different types of plastic products. Production is based on the company’s own research and development reflecting the customer requirements and demand for new properties of plastic materials. SPUR currently employs 245 people. The turnover generated in 2019 exceeded 1 billion Czech crowns. More than 70% of the production is exported. The company processes are compliant with the ISO 9001 and ISO 28000 standards.
SPUR a.s. has been active in research and development of nano materials since 2006. Production of nanofibers using equipment of proprietary design commenced in 2012. Since 2018, the research has continued via the Centre of Polymer Systems of Tomáš Baťa University in Zlín, while development and production of nanofibers takes place at the corporate premises. Mass production of the material was launched in early March 2020. The first automatic line producing FFP2 respirators was commissioned at the end of June. The company currently operates six automatic nano respirator production lines and one producing nano face masks.
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